Attorneys for one of two cousins charged with first-degree murder in the robbery, kidnapping and strangulation of an elderly Highland Road couple last fall are seeking a laundry list of evidence from East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors.
The list includes any statement authorities have received from the cousins or witnesses, and the attorneys want to be given advance notice of any DNA testing.
The bodies of Denis “Bubbie” Duplantier, 71, and Suzanne “Suzy” Duplantier, 70, were discovered Oct. 19 in the backseat of their red pickup at a Hammond gas station.
Ernesto Llerena Alonso, 43, who did landscaping work for the couple and lived in an apartment above a Nicholson Drive barn on their land, was arrested Oct. 21 at Frank Garcia’s home in Hollywood, Florida. Garcia was arrested at his home Nov. 18.
Garcia’s lawyers, David Price and Mario Guadamud, with the Baton Rouge Capital Conflict Office, filed court papers last week in what is styled a “motion for statutory discovery.” Garcia’s lawyers seek copies of the initial offense reports related to the double-murder, as well as booking records, the indictment and all affidavits and search warrants in the case. They also want the arrest and conviction records, if any exist, of Garcia, Alonso and the Duplantiers.
A safe inside the Duplantier home was found open, with cash missing, authorities have said, and a large amount of cash and a number of unspecified items believed stolen from the couple’s house were located at Garcia’s home.
Price and Guadamud want to inspect all items collected as a result of Garcia’s arrest, including all items recovered from his home and all items collected from the Duplantier residence.
Garcia’s attorneys also want to be given notice if the state intends to request a court order compelling Garcia to provide urine, blood, saliva, hair or other bodily substance samples for testing. Garcia, his lawyers say, has a right to a hearing before such an order is signed.
“If the court orders samples for DNA testing, Mr. Garcia asserts his right to acquire one half of the DNA sample for testing,” Price and Guadamud write in their discovery motion.
The lawyers also want to know if a confidential informant assisted the police investigation and, if so, they want that person’s identity revealed to them.
The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office has yet to respond to the defense motion.
Alonso’s white pickup, which was captured on surveillance video as it followed the Duplantiers’ truck into the Petro truck stop in Hammond, was recovered at Garcia’s house, authorities said.
Alonso and Garcia were indicted Feb. 4 by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury and pleaded not guilty later that month to first-degree murder charges. Prosecutors have not announced whether they intend to seek the death penalty against either or both men.
Their next appearance at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse is set for June 23. They are being held without bail.